If my life leans toward excess in any area, it's books. If there is some tapeworm analogy that would apply, feel free to supply it. I just never feel as if I have enough. I could probably stop right now, never buy another, and still be able to read new material for years. But I won't.
I'm self-disclosing here for a reason: Once again I attended the fall convention of the National Council of Teachers of English, held this year in Chicago. As a teacher of English, I have been blessed to be able to go to this conference quite often during my career, starting as a first-year teacher. The timing is perfect--close enough to the end of the semester that I need a boost, fresh material, contact with comrades serving in the same trenches. Every year, I get to see some friends that I know only through NCTE, teachers and writers from all over the world.
I will confess, though, that one lovely benefit of attendance is found in the mammoth exhibit hall (this time, actually three halls) where booksellers and other literary and educational vendors not only display and sell their wares, but often provide generous giveaways and deep discounts. The title of Nancy Pearl's Book Lust provides the perfect diagnosis. Other teachers, administrators, media specialists are doing just what I am--loading up! I ended up shipping home a couple of boxes before I left, then met three young preservice teachers on the plane who had opted to ship home their clothes and travel with their new books. Why didn't I think of that?
Now all I have to do is sit back and wait for the packages, along with the booklist I always get via email a few days after the conference, a list of dozens of book recommendations from one of my favorite sessions "Readers Among Us." Before my Christmas shopping is in full swing, I'll have more stacks, more lists, more notes beckoning me more strongly than that bag of research papers I'll be wagging home for the Thanksgiving holidays.